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Communication Practices Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss Lip Shapes LIVE! Lipreading Concepts Personal advocacy Speechreading/Lipreading

HoH Tour – The Restaurant

Good afternoon and welcome to a session of Hearing Loss LIVE!’s Tour Guide to the Hearing World. Join us as we travel through the land of the hearing, where English sounds like a foreign  language and people don’t look at you while talking. It’s a lang of mumbling people who don’t move their mouth and others who move it much too fast. We will journey through masks (yes they are still around), dodge communication disasters and create more awareness together. Pick your best seat (never feel guilty about picking your best seat) and enjoy our tour through the land of the Hearies, who don’t speak our language.

Today you have two of us as tour guides, Chelle and Julia! Two for the price of one! Today’s exploration is the restaurant…with hearing aids. Does it sound scary to you?  Restaurants are so awful that some hearing aid manufacturers have a dedicated setting called “restaurant”. We’re going to tuck you under our wing so you can observe the process with us. Julia will give us some hearing insight along the way. 

  • Ready?
  • Set?
  • Go!
We’ll meet you at the local eatery, Stella Grill.

Chelle: Julia and I pulled into the parking lot at just about the same time. I’m a little ahead of her so I wait in the parking lot for her. If the weather isn’t severe, why not wait outside for those last moments of peace? 

Hello, join us!

This is my second trip here, Julia’s first. I’m a reader and that means I’m always looking around for signs and written information. The first time I came in, I did not see a “wait to be seated” sign so my husband and I sat ourselves. Oops! The waiter let us know we were naughty. This time, I know to wait. 

Confession

Before we sit down, let me confess that I do not use my hearing aids in restaurants. I put my lipreading skills to use instead. I can’t tolerate the extra noise in restaurants. Now and then I try using my hearing aids, turning down the volume in an already personally tweaked hearing program for noisy settings. Again and again, I find myself clenching my teeth and so distracted by noise that I can’t focus on conversation. Glasses clinking. Silverware clattering. Plates crashing. Music. Lots of people talking over the music. Argh! I take my hearing aids out and I’m fine. This is a personal choice.

There are many people within my personal HoH circle of friends that would never go without their hearing aids in social settings. They also have newer hearing aids than I do so they can tweak the programs in their smartphone apps more than my 8 year old hearing aids. To each his/her own! Use what works best for you.  

Julia is giving me a little wave. Let’s see what she has to say.

Julia: Hearing partners can help by letting their HoH make the decision about wearing hearing devices or not during outings. Why? Better communication outcomes. If going out to eat is one of your favorite things to do, what communication adaptations can you implement to continue enjoying such events? Work together for solutions. If noise is an issue, why not try going during off hours?

Chelle: Thank you Julia for your support, understanding and the tip. Bravo! 

Choose Your Best Table

A little foresight while we’re waiting to be seated. The last time I was here I sat on this side of the restaurant: 

Great lighting!

It was well lit but so noisy with reverberation my husband had issues hearing. I did fine with lipreading. As we walked out of the restaurant, both my husband and I noticed a huge difference between the rooms. The sound was dampened on this side. I’ll request sitting on this side this time.

Better for the ear.

*Note: Did you know we lose our sense of direction with hearing loss? These kinds of environments are particularly hard. Let’s plan on talking one at a time. If we raise a hand, we’re able to locate the speaker. 

Did you know you can request where to sit? No? This is a part of being proactive with your hearing loss. Take charge! Pick a corner away from the big table of loud people. Corners are always wonderful. Stay away from the kitchen area if possible. Be sure to look for good lighting and that  your hearing partner’s face is not backlit. If you’re in a large group, see if you can’t sit in a circle instead of a long rectangle table. 

The hostess is ready to lead us to the table. I ask her if we can sit on this side of the restaurant. She stops and points to the table right about where we want to be. Perfect. I’ve never had anyone tell me no. 

Look for the specials!

Oh look, there’s the board with the day’s specials written right behind us. I always look for that too because serving staff tends to recite those specials at 100 mph.  

Julia and I sit down. I take what I think is my best seat. Can you feel it in your face when hearing is hard? I can. My eyebrows are pulled down and my eyes are feeling squinty. Oh my, her face in the shadows. I ask her to trade me places and she does. Much better!

Julia is a wonderful hearie.
Pay attention to the menu…

Do you all have your menu? Ah good. I want you to read the fine print for your lunch choice. Does it come with sides? How many? Where are the sides listed?  Look at the choices and make your decision before they get there. Why? Because the less questions our serving person asks, the easier it will be on all of us. 

*Tip: Be extra proactive and view the menu online before going to the restaurant.

**And a side note: They rarely list the dressings for salads. If you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and ask. If not, there’s always ranch dressing.

The last time I was here with my husband, the waiter began reciting the sides even though I knew what I wanted, crispy fries. When he got to the house pasta salad, his eyebrows shot up and wiggled around. Ohh, that must be a personal favorite of his. I like trying new things so I decided to go with that in lieu of the crispy fries. That’s a bonus when you’re a “lipreader”. We notice the small nuances. I did not regret my decision to go with his choice side. It came with homemade noodles, yum!

That nice waiter wanders the path but he is not our server this time. We have a young guy and I inform him I use lipreading. He faces me and I place my order. Be proactive! Let people know what you need to communicate.They appreciate knowing what works best.

How many of you think you read lips? I knew it, not many. Guess what, you are lipreading whether you know it or not. If you feel unsure about using the word lipreading, let them know they have to face you so you can hear them. Do they talk too fast? Ask them to slow down a bit, they will if they want that tip.

*Special announcement

This month’s special from Hearing Loss LIVE! If you want to learn more about lipreading, join one of our lipreading classes that will be starting in January. We have a two for one special because our hearing partners benefit a great deal from understanding the lipreading process. 

While we wait, Julia gets up to take pictures. She too notices a huge difference in the acoustics between the different rooms. We can’t really pick out why except maybe less windows. It’s odd! Have you paid attention to acoustics? Restaurants are often built for the eye and to be easy to clean. Rarely are they made to please the ear. It’s unfortunate. Some restaurants are smart enough to put up acoustic panels and that can help a great deal.

It looks like Julia has another valuable tip for us….

Julia: Have you heard of SoundPrint? It’s a smartphone app that rates noise in different settings. Share your latest restaurant experience on Soundprint and let’s get others in the KNOW. It’s better working together!

Chelle: Let’s help each other be in the know! We can work together noting the noisy restaurants, but remember to bring awareness too. Give them a solution or two.

The food is here! They have such great food here. Before he leaves, the waiter asks if there’s anything else he can get for us. (This is a common question at this point so it’s easy to anticipate, easy to “hear”.) Nope, all is good and we are practically drooling looking at our Reubens. Let’s chow down!

Notes from a HoH:

Don’t be a total hearie who chews their food and talks at the same time. We can’t just listen, we are read lips too. It makes it very hard to focus on what you’re saying when we are watching food jump around in your mouth. Instead of “listening”, we are now wondering if food is going to fall out of your mouth or come flying out at us. If you have just taken a big bite of your Reuben, take a moment to chew it up, swallow then take a sip of water to wash it all down. We can wait.  

Tip Him/Her!

Lunch was a success! We had some thoughtful conversation our waiter was patient and accommodating.  Let’s give him a nice tip. I like it here so I will be back. Hopefully both waiters will remember me and be just as accommodating.

Thank you for joining us. We hope we gave you a few good tips to you and you will venture out.

Happy Holidays to all!

If you like this blog, take a look at our blog on being Proactive.

Did you like the tour? Check our Grocery Store Tour.

We keep as much of content free as we can. We want everyone to access to communication. If you liked what we wrote, Buy Us a Coffee.

Categories
Connections deaf Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss Live Theatre Speechreading/Lipreading

Michael Conley Playwright, Reading Lips

Our guest this week is playwright Michael Conley who talks about his play “Reading Lips“. Michael was born in a small town in Kansas. After high school in Chicago and college at the University Delaware, he moved to New York. He received his MFA in screenwriting from Columbia University. Michael currently resides in San Diego and is the Co-Vice President of the San Diego Chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America.

Michael’s plays have been presented in New York, San Diego and Philadelphia.

Michael: Writing “Reading Lips” brought out a part of my identity that I didn’t even know was there. Meeting people with a hearing loss and learning that they experienced the same challenges I have always faced made me realize that I’m part of a larger community. That although I had been struggling my whole life with developing tips on how to “get by” (as I call it), everyone else was trying to get by as well.

Working on the play introduced me to a lot of people I would otherwise not have met. Meeting those who used ASL to communicate made me want to learn ASL. That in turn led to studying Deaf Culture—this history that we all share (even if peripherally).

At the time, I thought “Deaf people” were only people who had no hearing at all. I remember asking someone who was completely deaf if they consider me as Deaf. “Sure!” Not only did that give me more insight into the range of hearing losses people have, but it also gave me an appreciation of how inclusive and embracing the Deaf Community is.

Chelle:
I love making connections with others who have hearing loss. Everyone has something to teach me. I attend Audible Talkers Toastmasters meetings which are held online. I’ve been a member for a year and a half. Their meetings are accessible to the Hard of Hearing (HoH) with live captioning and automatic speech recognition. HoH members get a transcript, or outline, of each speech before the meeting, allowing us to enjoy the live speech and provide more effective feedback. The club is supportive and their members, HoH, hearing, English as a second language, and more, are each fascinating in their own way.

Michael was a guest at recent meeting (anyone can attend as a guest). Alongside his name I noticed readinglips.com. Of course I had to investigate that! It turns out Michael is a playwright and that makes it all the more interesting so we invited him to podcast with us. It was great having him with us.

On his website, Michael shares information about his play, “Reading Lips”, a full-length play about being gay and Deaf. While writing the play, he posed the questions, “Am I gay man who happens to be Deaf? Or a Deaf man who just happens to be gay?” In the upcoming podcast with Hearing Loss LIVE!, Michael shares, “Having a hearing loss has made far more of an impact on the choices I made in life,” and that made me think.

Hearing loss changed the course of my life after the last big drop. How many times have I thought ahead and said, No I can’t go. It won’t be accessible to me. I quit the one job I thought I’d be doing all my life because of hearing loss. I went into a deep dark hole which took a few years to climb out of. Hearing loss impacts our lives in many ways.

Hearing loss affects relationships in our family too. During our podcast together, Michael tells a story about how growing up with a hearing loss affected his family life. I’m not going to spoil the story here, you’ll have to watch.

Gallaudet University Campus, Washington, D.C.

Photo Credit: Reading Lips website
June/July 2019: Michael Conley studying American Sign Language (ASL) at Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C., the world’s only university for the Deaf and people with a hearing loss.

Photo Credit: Reading Lips website

Michele: Before our podcast with Michael, I read everything on his website and searched for more information on the internet. I was especially interested in his experience at Gallaudet University, as I’ve thought about doing something similar—spending a semester or two studying American Sign Language (ASL) and immersing myself in a community rich in Deaf culture. I especially love Washington DC, so there’s that too.

Because there was a no-voicing policy in his program at Gallaudet, Michael talked about how liberating it was not to have to wear his cochlear implant (CI) or hearing aid, and not having to position himself to read people’s lips. I can relate. I’ve never worn hearing aids (other than in trials) or CI. If there is any consolation in not finding help with technology, it is a certain freedom from trying to hear better—something members of Deaf culture understand and embrace—which in turn has allowed me to focus more on communicating better.

I sometimes think people with hearing loss are so focused on their quest for technology to help them hear better, they miss the really important step of learning to be comfortable with who they are without any type of aid or communication tool.

We are likely never going to hear as well as we would like to in some situations—battery failure, too much noise or distance, and/or weak WiFi and cell phone service depletes the effectiveness of our hearing devices, assistive listening technology, and ASR (automatic speech recognition) apps. Even lipreading, textual English, and ASL are a challenge without a readable speaker, captioner, or interpreter.

However, if we can learn to communicate confidently even without any of the valuable communication tools and technology we rely on, we are going to have a life with fewer limits. That is no small thing.

Julia: We are always looking for like minded folks to podcast and blog with. Chelle asked us to review Michael’s website and see if we liked the fit. I read the first three lines of “Reading Lips” and responded, oh yes!

I love the theater. Grew up on it. By age eight I could tell folks what costumes were different in that season of Ballet West’s “The Nutcracker”. I love musicals and often sing show tunes around my house—some lyrics I make up depending on my mood. I’ll take thought provoking, personal growth and experience, small theater any day. I would love to see a production of this play. It’s different and refreshing. It’s about finding your identity. As much as I love the originals, small playhouses where the director and playwright work together I find so enjoyable.

The first time I met Michael was in a Hearing Loss LIVE! Self Advocacy workshop presented by Michele Linder. Michael asked a question, why would folks not just ask for what you need? Why indeed! We need more HoH people to adopt this mindset. Be proactive, be diverse. Be the best HoH you can be!

Watch our companion podcast with Michael.

If you liked this podcast, try artist Liza Sylvestre who explores her hearing loss through art. Also take a look at our blog with Salt Lake Acting Company who offers open captioned plays.

Categories
Accessibility Advocacy ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) Captioning CART (live captioning) Cochlear Implants Communication Practices Connections Emotions, Psychological Stress Hearing Aids Hearing Loss Live Theatre Public Advocacy Speechreading/Lipreading Uncategorized

Hearing Loss and Hearing Partners

Written by Julia Stepp

Who is responsible for communication when hearing loss is part of your family dynamics? The person with the hearing loss, right?

Let me ask you; as the hearing partner are you saying any of the following:

  • You are purposely ignoring me.
  • Turn that damn TV down!
  • Why are you yelling at me?
  • What do you mean the phone isn’t working right? I hear fine.
  • Are you serious? Do you really think I said that?
  • What do you mean you don’t want to go out with our friends on Friday nights?
  • I think you need to see the doctor, something is not right with you mentally.
  • Is it just hearing loss? Oh no biggie then. We’ll just get some hearing aids. Just stick’em on and good to go.
  • We just spent $8000 on hearing aids, what do you mean you still can’t hear me?

One that has stuck with me over the years during Hard of Hearing workshops: Your hearing loss is now our life.

Hearing loss affects every family member, especially when it comes to communication. Communication is the key to staying connected. There are many tools that can help you stay connected. Most families don’t find these tools until the connection is a struggle and everyone is beyond frustrated.. My hope is that this finds folks before the connection is damaged.

Some simple things that every hearing partner/family member can do:

  • Get involved from the beginning. There will be a period of time my friend Sue refers to as the “I’m not there yet” statement. When they’re not there yet, you can still work staying connected.
  • Stop talking from another room. This is good practice for everywhere, including your job, if you’ve gone back to the office.
  • Stop talking with food in your mouth. Ew. Just. Ew.
  • Make sure you’re facing them. This helps them use body language to fit with what is being said. It also helps you to see their facial expressions to make sure they understand what you are saying. 

The more important the conversation the better the outcome will be if you can follow these simple rules.

The list above is good practice to use with everyone, not just those with hearing loss. You can practice it over and over everywhere you go because one in five people you meet will have a hearing loss. Plus, practicing everywhere you go makes it a habit.

There is evidence that shows getting hearing aids from the onset of a hearing loss have better outcomes. BUT making someone get hearing aids so they can hear YOU will not work as well as you’d like unless you change some communication habits. You will be disappointed. When you are both ready for hearing aids, be involved. Keep the connection:

  • Go to the Audiologist with your partner. Learn what hearing aids can and cannot do. Help keep a diary of sounds and what your partner would like to hear. 
  • Find out why T-coils are important. Find out where loops have been installed to use with T-coils
  • Learn how assistive listening devices work. We all love our bluetooth, right? There are ways to use your Bluetooth with personal devices. There’s also FM systems and WiFi assistive listening options. Look for the Assistive Listening Device (ALD) symbol in venues.
  • Learn more about caption options. Apps on phones and computers, television, landlines phones, and public venues, office meetings.
  • Loops, ALDs and captions can all be used even before the person is ready for hearing aids. 
  • If certain environments are no longer doable, keep a list and brainstorm ideas on how to make it work. If Friday night is date night with friends and your local hangout is too loud, start looking for a new hang out. And if that Friday night date night is a quiet home dinner for two. That’s okay too.

And something I cannot stress enough. JOIN A SUPPORT GROUP. Support groups for hearing loss allow the person with hearing loss to connect to others with shared experience. Support groups are where hearing partners can learn how to better support hearing loss too. Don’t let the hearing loss be your life. Live life better with hearing loss. 

Another important list that has helped my family is to know signs of hearing loss. 

  • Repeating questions you have answered (them making sure they heard right)
  • “What?” A lot of whats or huhs or say that again.
  • TV is becoming louder and louder.
  • Trouble hearing on a phone.
  • Not answering questions you ask, or answering incorrectly.

I watched my grandma’s friends and family misdiagnose her as being “senile” or showing signs of “dementia.” It was during a class provided at an HLAA chapter meeting on how to recognize symptoms of dementia that helped me realize that grandma did not have dementia. She needed her hearing evaluated and more life skills to help her participate in all her extra-curricular activities

Because I decided I should go to the Audiologist with grandma, we discovered she had been using lipreading to pass her hearing tests.

Even though I knew better, five years later I misdiagnosed dementia vs hearing loss in my own spouse. (BTW, he’s not there yet. My husband may never “be there.”) He has a mild hearing loss and still lives a full life at 73. We have practiced communication skills well over 20 years. This is  thanks to the fact that I work with and have many friends with hearing loss. No one is perfect and we all slip up. Daily. However, we own it when we don’t follow the rules and move on. Usually.

Octoberfest at Snowbird this past fall.

Keep connected. Don’t let communication with hearing loss manage your life. Manage the hearing loss instead. Learn, grow and most of all LIVE your life.

PS: JOIN A SUPPORT GROUP! Find out why with us.

If you liked this post, try Hearing Small Voices because kids are hard to hearing. Also we wrote early on about Hearing Loss: Family and Communication.

(No companion podcast.)

Categories
Communication Practices Hearing Loss Speechreading/Lipreading

Lipreading Concepts with Hearing Loss LIVE!

Registration link is here a month before classes begin.

Why Lipreading Concepts Before Lip Shapes?

Julia: There is a misconception that if you lose hearing you automatically read lips. Without knowing the concepts before you try to learn and understand the lip shapes makes for a tired student. Once the concepts are understood, students can learn lip shapes in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Chelle: While teaching lipreading with the state of Utah, we had 18 lessons. Each lesson was an hour and a half. Lip shapes and concepts were spread throughout each lesson. By lesson 4, I noticed a few people weren’t returning to class as it was overwhelming. In designing a new class with Hearing Loss LIVE!, we thought it would be more helpful to set people up with the concepts first so they are more confident later for lip shapes. 

Michele: As a lifelong lipreader, I know that when you are not confident in a situation your lipreading skills fly out the window. Keeping your composure is key. Obsessing about what you are NOT getting causes panic and works against you. Learning all of the moving parts of lipreading builds confidence, and so it makes sense to start Hearing Loss LIVE! lipreading classes with instruction and information about those concepts.

Lipreading Experience

Michele: When I was diagnosed with hearing loss in grade school, the doctor told my mother I was lipreading everything he said. I likely had had a hearing loss years before. I had no clue I was doing it, though the concept wasn’t completely foreign to me, as my grandmother was deaf and a lipreader. I’ve been lipreading for well over five decades, and the very first article that I wrote for publication was about lipreading. It is so much a part of who I am and how I communicate.

I have consulted on a few lipreading projects, transcribing a surveillance video for a law firm, and silent news footage for a documentary film. I did extensive research to prepare for both projects, but it was knowing the context and using all of the other fundamentals of lipreading that helped me make sense of what I saw on speakers’ lips while viewing the footage.

Julia: I have been involved off and on as a CART provider for Lipreading classes since 2010, both in Utah and California. As a Hard of Hearing Assistant for the State of Utah, I taught Lipreading classes online for a year. 

Chelle: I’m Hard of Hearing so I’ve been lipreading for years without knowing it. In 2013 or 2014, I started teaching the Speechreading class at the state Deaf and Hard of Hearing Center. I revised the class three times over the years, gaining experience while teaching… saving what worked and getting rid of what didn’t work. Example: Single syllable practice words destroyed the confidence of all us beginners. I changed the words to 2 or more syllables giving us more to go on. I also tried to pick common words we see daily. 

Lipreading Class experience online

Chelle: The pandemic hit and the HoH assistants were asking what they would do without in person classes. I had been wanting to try hybrid presentations to be more inclusive of people all over the state, not just certain locations. With the pandemic, I took a deep breath and within a month started the HoH program classes online. There was trial and error and thinking ahead about technology glitches so we had a teacher and backup person in case someone’s internet went down. It worked with a few jerks and bumps, which we smoothed out within a month. We found out lipreading classes are even better online than in person, because each person sits fairly close to the camera. In person we sat farther apart making it hard at times. 

Michele: Losing my hearing at such a young age hardwired me for lipreading. I am aware of how it works, but the nuances and technical aspects of articulation were new to me. When Utah opened up their online lipreading classes, I signed up for two separate classes. Being online worked great, as you could pin a speaker to view them close-up during practice. Once in a while someone’s screen would freeze, but there were no major glitches. I’ve heard many others with hearing loss over the years express an interest in learning to lipread or improve their skills, and having online classes really makes that possible no matter where you live.

Julia: My experience with lipreading in person wasn’t as a teacher but when we went online at the beginning of the pandemic, I found online was a much better platform for lipreading classes. You have the ability to turn the sound completely off but not your voice. In-person classes involve a lot of whispering. This may actually change the way you enunciate or move your mouth. 

Why I Love This Class

Julia: I learn so much from these types of classes that as a hearing person I didn’t understand before. It helps me to be better with my communication to someone with a hearing loss, because I know what may or may not come across when they are trying to lipread.

Michele: The best thing about the class was the people who attended. Getting to know one another, the camaraderie that developed, the humor, talking about our experiences, and learning from each other. We had some really awesome class discussions and came up with some improvements to the class together. I think we all gained a lot of confidence together.

An added benefit was becoming comfortable with video conferencing platforms with closed captions. I’ll be honest, I was nervous for the first few weeks. As much about Google Meet as the class. My hearing loss is profound, which means I hear no audio at all on the computer, so I was nervous about interrupting and contributing in class. It didn’t take long to become comfortable with both the class and Google Meet. The lipreading classes were actually my saving grace in those first months of Covid isolation. I am so thankful Utah opened up their online classes to other states.

Chelle: The Speechreading class gave me confidence. I learned a better way to communicate with people and became less fearful of social interaction. I found I had the added benefit of hearing better in noisy environments. Example: I cannot handle wearing my hearing aids at restaurants. The excess noise distracts me. (How do hearing people handle all that noise?!) Also, I’m not easily rattled anymore and can handle most communication situations that come up. I learned when it might be my fault for not understanding AND when it’s the speaker’s fault. 

Class Information

What: Live, in person Lipreading Concepts Class; 8 Lessons, Online with Google Meet
When: At various times of the year, check our registration page & social media.
Time: We will start classes again the second week in January 2023. Stay tuned for more information.

Cost: $50 per person ($6.25 per lesson)

Limit: 10 people per class

Registration is here and starts a month before the class begins.

Questions? Contact us.

We completed our winter 2022 class and our summer 2022 class. Here are a few testimonials:

Gloria: I am a clinical social worker and I took the Lip Reading Class offered. They created a great class for communication for those who are HOH or deaf. I am amazed at what I learned every day.  It is well worth the money to take the class and the instructors are exceptional.  I am going to use this everyday in my practice and life.  TAKE THE COURSE it will change your life. 

Maria: The class has definitely improved my communication.  My friends know to be in front of me when they speak.  And they also know if they walk away, I won’t hear them.  I communicated more clearly with health personnel during a recent medical visit. They understood my communication needs and helped advocate for me after when someone didn’t. 

Attendee: The lip-reading concepts class gave me a set of tools for receiving spoken information. No single approach to communication works all the time so having the lip-reading concepts tools and the instructors’ encouragement to keep trying was most helpful. They provided great memorable examples and resources that will remind us that there are often other approaches to understand more of the words others say.

Want to learn more about the class before registering? Join our free monthly event, Talk About It Tuesday. It’s held online via Zoom with CART/live captioning the first Tuesday of each month from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM MST. Registration is here.

Watch our short video on Lipreading Concepts on YouTube.

Michele and Chelle Explorations Lipreading in Years Past

(No podcast companion.)

Categories
Advocacy Speechreading/Lipreading

SHANNA GROVES: Lipreading Mom

Author and Hearing Loss Advocate Shanna Groves, Lipreading Mom, is our guest on this week’s Hearing Loss LIVE! podcast.

Michele first heard about Shanna in 2009 when a fellow SayWhatClub subscriber shared an HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America) call for submissions for hearing loss stories for a project Shanna was working on for them. Then, in 2012 Michele crossed paths with Shanna on the CCAC captioning forum.

Chelle became aware of Shanna in 2013 through volunteering for the SayWhatClub Social Media Team. She also participated in Shanna’s Show Me Your Ears campaign with her favorite translucent red hearing aids.

Both Chelle and Michele had an interest in lipreading and advocacy and shared Shanna’s blog articles on the SayWhatClub Facebook page. Shanna’s Stop Hearing Loss Bullying campaign is also notable for addressing bullying and the long range effects it has on self esteem.